We’ve all been there. Excited anticipation about a trip away, butterflies dancing in our stomachs until we get to… The Airport. Let’s face it, they can be stressful, uncomfortable and overcrowded. There are common themes that grind all of our gears when travelling by air, but don’t worry, there is hope.
A wise man once said: “Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” – Greg Anderson.
Well, I challenge Greg to feel the same way when at Luton Airport (not pictured) on a busy bank holiday weekend- without consuming any alcohol to numb the pain. It was actually whilst standing in the queue at Luton Airport security, that I began to ponder what it is that I most dislike about airports, and how I personally combat these issues. You could say that Luton Airport was indeed the birthing place of this blog post.
Airports should be wonderful places to relax in and look forward to the start of your adventure, holiday or weekend getaway. Instead, they are full of people behaving like self obsessed idiots, a constant barrage of advertisements telling you to spend your money, and queues in which you feel like you have aged 20 years, by the time you reach the end of.
This may be a recurring theme in this post, for which I apologise. It is due to the fact however, that the entire duration of your airport experience (from the moment you pull off the motorway, to the moment you walk through the exit doors at your final destination) revolves around queues for one thing or another. Now don’t get me wrong, being a Brit I like the queueing system in general, it’s orderly, it’s fair and it works, but it also gets old very quickly. For a queueing system to be successful, it needs it’s participants to be committed to the queue, and airport travellers generally are, if not a little too committed. This is where the main problem arises…..
Uncomfortable…… yes, that’s one word for it.
Particularly when I have my carry on backpack on my back (where it belongs), and the person behind feels the need to push into it, multiple times, to get just 1 inch further forward. This is unnecessary and actually just downright rude. What I don’t understand is that the person can see this physical extension to my body. Heck, if they are visually impaired and can’t, then they can still feel that they are bumping another person. Once as an accident I can forgive, but twice or more? Really!?
Unfortunately when an activity involves humans and human nature, it is very difficult to get the correct behaviour out of all involved. Airport queues are never going to be fun but to make the experience feel less stressful, I do everything I can to…….
Lead By Example
Shops, shops, everywhere. You MUST buy this or your holiday will be incomplete.
Ok, I don’t mind the shops being there (some of them) as having somewhere to buy refreshments and reading material is nice. What I hate is the mass consumerism aspect, and pushing sales of things we don’t really need, by labelling them as “Duty Free”. I’ve done it and I’m sure you have too. How many times have you bought something in an airport just because it was cheaper (thanks to duty free) than at home? Never mind the fact that you never buy that thing at home, or very rarely. The airport shops push you to buy and spend NOW because you may not get another chance EVER. That money could be better spent on making lifelong memories, on your trip.
If you do decide to give in and purchase something, this is when other problems become apparent….
This point is slightly unfair, in as much as I don’t hate security per se. I think security in airports is extremely important (as the sad events around the world have shown us over recent years) and I support security measures fully. This being said, it is a major faff. Separating everything out, taking off clothing, throwing away liquids over 100ml, removing my laptop from my bag. But it’s not all of that, that gets me. What really annoys me is when:
People do this last minute at the security station. Just where you put your bags on the belt and they go through the scanner.
It holds everyone up. Just because they couldn’t be bothered to do it earlier, or because they decided to ignore the signs. If you have been on a flight in the last 10 years, you will know there is a restriction on liquids, gels and aerosols. How hard is it to have put them in a little transparent, re-sealable bag and have them ready in your hand before you reach the security belt and scanner?
Maybe you haven’t flown before, or not in the last 10 years- does that make it ok? NO! There are signs everywhere telling you what you must have ready and what is allowed through security. Some airports have staff reminding passengers and I even remember some strange talking hologram cut-out-thing lecturing me about it all in an airport (wish I could remember which one), which was actually pretty creepy. So even if you are blind, or visually impaired I’m afraid you have no excuse.
Coats, jackets, scarves and removing laptops from bags, I’m a little more lenient with. Frequent flyers know the drill but it is easy to forget it you haven’t flown in a while. However, most of the time there are signs relating to these too.
Again, due to it being human behaviour that is the main issue at hand, it is difficult to remedy entirely. I mainly try again to lead by example and hope that other people will take notice of what I’m doing and maybe follow suit.
Oh man- Airport toilets. Always a queue, only what feels like 3 toilets for 300 people and often not enough room to swing a cat, let alone your hand luggage or big backpack/case.
(pun fully intended)
Well you can’t change the design or layout of the airport and it’s facilities that’s for sure, but you can think ahead and know a few tricks.
I don’t understand how there always appears to be a lack of seating, for everything. From seats by the departure screens, to chairs in the restaurants and cafes. It seems like they have constantly underestimated just how many travellers would actually like to put their bottoms on a chair.
If you are lucky enough to find a seat- don’t expect to be comfortable. The cynic in me does wonder at whether the designers of the seats in airports made them particularly uncomfortable on purpose, thus leading to less time spent sitting on them, and reducing the problem of not enough of seats in the first place! Or maybe they want you to get up off your bottom and go shopping in the Duty Free. Hmmm….
I hope that maybe you can draw some inspiration from my “solutions” to the 5 problems and make your next airport visit a more pleasurable one.
Do you have any other elements you hate about Airports? Anything else about them that really grinds your gears? If so, please share in the comments below, especially if you also have your own ways of combatting the stresses they present. Similarly, is there an Airport you love? What makes it different? I have just recently discovered Dublin Airport and can say that it was truly a breath of fresh air. Blog post on why I love Dublin Airport, coming soon!
Take care and happy travels,
Creative unicorn ninja; Travel vlogger/blogger. Green tea enthusiast and lover of dance and art. Currently be found back in England planning the next adventure! Southeast Asia Odyssey coming very soon!
Where I can be found: UK
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